Luther College honors lives lost to racism, xenophobia and religious intolerance

At 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21, more than 100 small flames could be seen flickering in front of the Center for Faith and Life on the Luther College campus. College Ministries, in partnership with the Black Student Union, hosted a candlelight vigil to honor and hold the memory of people murdered due to racism, xenophobia and religious intolerance. 

“I hope that the event provided a safe space for individuals to grieve and mourn with the support of each other,” said Rebekah E. Nteso ‘22, president of the Black Student Union. “This vigil is significant today because of the continuing xenophobia, religious prejudice, racism and abhorrence towards minorities all over the world. Being a part of this vigil provided me an outlet for my grief, pain, thoughts and feelings as a BIPOC. It also allowed me to reflect on what I can continue doing as well as what more I can do to be a part of the change. There is still work to be done.”

During the vigil, student Sletsy Dlamini ‘21 spoke about the significance of current events, including Derek Chauvin being found guilty on multiple counts in the death of George Floyd. When reflecting on Floyd’s death and the death of other people of color, Dlamini said “in the pain we’re feeling today, it’s a comfort to know other people are standing by me. It gives me a glimpse of hope.”

And Dlamini wasn’t alone in feeling hopeful following the event. 

“As a person of color, it’s very upsetting to see what’s going on and to see it over and over. To see the Luther community come together gives me hope for change. We are a young generation and we are not willing to let anything go over our heads. We are not afraid to speak up anymore,” said Brittney Miranda ‘24.

“The vigil is not to show that justice is achieved. It’s for accountability. It will take many years for justice to happen. The thing everyone should take away from the vigil is we should stand up to continue to progress in this sort of light, especially because we’re a campus in a rural area. Most of the time, a campus like this isn’t aware. The fact we’re having a vigil like this means a lot to students of color,” said Fancy Mua ‘22.

Luther College is home to more than 1,800 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu.

Students gather for candlelight vigil
“We Shall Overcome” was led by students Maya Mukamuri and Phoenix Bradley in duet
Luther students, faculty and staff gather to hold the memory of people murdered due to racism, xenophobia and religious intolerance